Thick Celery Soup with Smoked Bacon
For vegetarians – or simply for a change – it is a nice idea to omit the bacon and pile some croûtons on top of this soup in a heatproof bowl, then sprinkle with ¾ oz (20 g) of strong Cheddar and melt under a hot grill.
| 2 medium sticks of celery, chopped fairly small|
| 2 oz (50 g) chopped leek|
| 1 small potato, peeled and chopped|
| 1 oz (25 g) butter|
| 7 fl oz (200 ml) hot water or stock|
| 2 small rashers of smoked streaky bacon|
| sea salt and freshly ground black pepper|
| croûtons, to garnish (optional; see recipe introduction)|
| 2 oz (50 g) strong Cheddar cheese (optional; see recipe introduction)|
First of all melt the butter in a thick-based saucepan, then add the leek, celery and potato. Stir them around to get a nice coating of butter and add some salt and pepper.
Now put a lid on. Keeping the heat very low, allow them to sweat gently for 10-15 minutes. After that pour in the stock or water. Stir again, pop the lid back on and simmer gently for a further 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Meanwhile preheat the grill, and cook the bacon rashers until they are crisp enough to be crumbled up into little bits. Next blend the soup to a purée in a liquidiser or food processor, and after that pass it through a sieve (in case there are any fibrous bits left in the celery). Return to the pan to reheat and taste to check the seasoning. Finally stir in the crumbled pieces of bacon.
Serve very hot, garnished, if you like, with some plain croûtons.
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